Hepatitis Slideshow Pictures
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Hepatitis Slideshow Pictures What Is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. It may be caused by drugs,
alcohol use, or certain medical conditions. But in most cases, it's
caused by a virus that infects the liver. This is known as viral
hepatitis, and the most common forms are hepatitis A, B, and C.Hepatitis Symptoms
Sometimes there are no symptoms of hepatitis in the first weeks after
infection – the acute phase. But when they occur, the symptoms of
hepatitis A, B, and C may include fatigue, nausea, poor appetite, belly
pain, a mild fever, or yellow skin or eyes (jaundice.) When hepatitis B
and C become chronic, they may cause no symptoms for years. By the time
there are any warning signs, the liver may already be damaged.Hepatitis A: What Happens
Hepatitis A is highly contagious and can spread from person to person
in many different settings. It typically causes only a mild illness,
and many people who are infected may never realize they are sick at all.
The virus almost always goes away on its own and does not cause
long-term liver damage.Hepatitis A: How Does It Spread?
Hepatitis A usually spreads through contaminated food or water. Food
can be tainted when it's touched by an infected person who did not wash
his hands after using the bathroom. This transfers tiny amounts of
infected stool to the food. Raw shellfish, fruits, vegetables, and
undercooked foods are common culprits in hepatitis A outbreaks. The
virus can also spread in daycare centers if employees aren't careful
about washing hands after changing diapers.Hepatitis A: Who Is at Risk?
A prime risk factor for hepatitis A is traveling to or living in a
country with high infection rates. You can check the CDC's travel
advisories to learn about recent outbreaks. Eating raw foods or drinking
tap water can increase your risk while traveling. Children who attend
daycare centers also have a higher risk of getting hepatitis A.Hepatitis B: What Happens
Many adults who get hepatitis B have mild symptoms for a short time
and then get better on their own. But some people are not able to clear
the hepatitis B virus from the body, which causes a long-term infection.
Nearly 90 percent of infants who get the virus will carry it with them
for life. Over time, chronic hepatitis B can lead to serious problems
such as liver damage, liver failure, and liver cancer.Hepatitis B: How Does It Spread?
You can get hepatitis B through contact with the blood or body fluids
of an infected person. In the U.S., hepatitis B is most often spread
through unprotected sex. It's also possible to get hepatitis B by
sharing an infected person's needles, razors or toothbrush. And an
infected mother can pass the virus to her baby during childbirth.
Hepatitis B is not spread by hugging, kissing, sharing food or coughing.Hepatitis B: Who Is at Risk?
Anyone can get hepatitis B, but people who have multiple sex partners
or inject illegal drugs have a higher risk. Other risk factors include
being a health care worker who is exposed to blood or living with
someone who has chronic hepatitis B.
Hepatitis C: What Happens
About 25% of people who get hepatitis C defeat the virus after an
acute infection. The rest will carry the virus in their body for the
long term. Chronic hepatitis C can cause very serious complications,
including liver failure and liver cancer. Fortunately, there are ways to
manage the virus and reduce its impact on the liver.
Hepatitis C: How Does It Spread?
Hepatitis C spreads through infected blood. In the U.S., sharing
needles or "works" to inject drugs is the most common cause of
infection. Getting a tattoo or body piercing with an infected needle is
another means of exposure. A mother may pass the virus to her child at
birth. In rare cases, unprotected sex spreads hepatitis C, but the risk
appears small. Having multiple sex partners, HIV, or rough sex seems to
increase risk for spreading hepatitis C
Hepatitis C: Who Is at Risk?
People who have injected illegal drugs at any time, even one time,
many years ago, could be walking around with chronic hepatitis C.
Because there are often no symptoms, many former drug users may not
realize they have the infection. People who received a blood transfusion
before 1992 also have an elevated risk. Prior to that year, donated
blood was not screened for the hepatitis C virus.
How Is Hepatitis Diagnosed?
Chronic hepatitis can quietly attack the liver for years without
causing any symptoms. Unless the infection is diagnosed, monitored, and
treated, many of these people will eventually develop serious liver
damage. Fortunately, blood tests can determine whether you have viral
hepatitis, and if so, which kind.
Who Should Be Tested for Hepatitis?
Testing is important for anyone with the risk factors we've
mentioned, particularly injection drug users and people who have had
multiple sex partners. Health advocates are also urging people of Asian
heritage to get tested. Stanford University's Asian Liver Center
estimates that 1 in 10 Asians living in the U.S. has chronic hepatitis
B. Many of them have probably had the virus since birth.
What If You Test Positive?
If you test positive for viral hepatitis, you can take steps to
protect the ones you love. For hepatitis A, wash your hands frequently.
For hepatitis B and C, avoid sharing your nail clippers, razor, or
toothbrush. Make sure everyone in your household gets the hepatitis B
vaccine. An important step is to see a specialist to discuss your
Treatment: Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A almost always goes away on its own, and no medication is
needed. If nausea is a problem, try eating several small meals
throughout the day instead of three large ones. Drink water, juice, or
sports drinks to stay hydrated. And avoid strenuous exercise until
you're feeling better.
Treatment: Chronic Hepatitis B
The goal of treating chronic hepatitis B is to control the virus and
keep it from damaging the liver. This begins with regular monitoring for
signs of liver disease. Antiviral medications may help, but not
everyone can take them or needs to be on medication. Be sure to discuss
the risks and benefits of antiviral therapy with your doctor.